The capital of Norway is already competing with Stockholm and Copenhagen for the title of the most interesting city. in the Nordics. Mondo chose what’s relevant in Oslo: in addition to the inexpensive restaurants and new cultural and architectural sites, they recommend you to take a fjord cruise and visit the great maritime museums.
YOU CAN ONLY HEAR the steady chugging as S/S Helena passes the small red, yellow, and green summer cottages of Lindøya island. They create a beautiful contrast to the modern shoreline of central Oslo.
Although we are on a sailing boat built in the 1940s, we’re using the motor now. Nevertheless, there is great atmosphere in an old boat, enjoying the scenery and the wake in the quiet fjord. We go past a pair of eiders, then a kayak, and further away there’s someone in an old rowboat. Even further away, we can see Holmenkollen ski jumping hill.
You can enjoy the maritime feeling in Oslofjord in a number of ways. You might try a two-hour sailing boat cruise operated round the year by Norway Yacht Charter. During the cruise, you will get a pretty good general idea about Oslofjord and the archipelago. And while enjoying the atmosphere, you can enjoy some bubbly or goulash soup.
The people of Oslo love their archipelago, and you can visit it on a fjord cruise or with the cheap ferries operated by the city.
The ship slips past islands in the fjord, and you hear about the sights, their history and sites of interest in the archipelago. The tour also gives you a good view from the sea of many sights, such as the Akershus Castle, Oslo Opera House and the Munch Museum. You also go past the excellent maritime museums on Bygdøy peninsula, which you should also visit.
The people of Oslo love their archipelago, and in the summer the islands in the fjord are full of swimmers and sunbathers. The most popular islands include Hovedøya, where you can also visit the ruins of the old monastery, and Gressholmen that is land-linked to Rambergøya and Heggholmen, the latter of which has a lighthouse. On Lindøya, you can admire the numerous summer cottages, and spend time on the beach. Island hopping is easy with ferries from central Oslo. Last year five electric ferries began operating, as part of the city of Oslo’s bid to reach zero emissions.
But let’s back to the sailing boat. “These are beach huts. People used to spend time in them, go for a swim and chat with their hut neighbors,” says the guide over the loudspeaker. A little further inland on Nesodden peninsula, there are some magnificent summer homes. Swimming is very popular in Oslo. The water in Oslofjord has been cleaned, and the low-salt brackish water is ideal for swimming.
5 other ways to enjoy the waters of Oslo
- Oslofjord can be accessed in a number of ways, for example by canoe. Canoe rental and guidance are offered by many companies. The most accessible in the central Oslo are Mad Goats and Friluftshuset.
- If you like swimming, go to the super popular Sørenga Seawater Pool. It’s at Sørenga Harbour, only a short walk from the Opera House.
- If you want to go island hopping, get on a public transport ferry from Aker Brygge. The timetables and routes are available at ruter.no.
- One ferry will also take you to the brilliant maritime museums on Bygdøy. The island houses the Kon-Tiki Museum, dedicated to the adventures of Thor Heyerdahl, Fram Museum, focusing on polar expeditions and the (currently closed) Viking Ship Museum.
- Saunas have become very popular in Oslo, and there are public floating saunas in the vicinity of the Opera House. Try, for example, one of the many saunas of Oslo Badstuforening. The association was founded jointly by the City of Oslo and a local anarchist group. The latest addition is a floating sauna next to the Opera House, which you can book for yourself and stay overnight in a cottage next to it – in a sleeping bag.
Text and photos: Maija Astikainen
This story was originally published in Mondo magazine's issue 10/22.